Learning casts its spell on Norridge students
All eyes are on Christina Gambino as she competes in the spelling bee at Giles School in Norridge. | Joel Lerner~Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 24, 2013 8:46PM
NORRIDGE — Automatic spelling-correction programs come in handy, but they cannot replace the value of knowing how to spell.
That’s what Michelle Kaczmarczyk says, and she ought to know.
The Giles School eighth-grader earned top honors in the Norridge school’s spelling bee last month.
“You’re not always going to have a computer in front of you to look up a word,” Kaczmarczyk explained. “You’re going have to know how to spell for college and for applying for jobs.”
The job application example struck a chord with teacher Mary Mostyn, who when she applied at the school for a teaching position, had to sit down with pen and paper and write down her philosophy of education.
“Spelling was very important that day,” she said with a laugh.
Mostyn, who has organized the school spelling bee for the last four years, noted a correlation between spelling and reading.
Many times a child will learn to spell by sight.
“A child needs some awareness of spelling patterns to become good readers,” she said, “and to become good writers.”
The problem with spelling correction programs is that they do not recognize simple typographical errors which result in correctly spelled words being used incorrectly — for example, “three” and “there,” she explained.
For Kaczmarczyk, spelling never has been a chore.
“It’s something I’ve always pretty good at,” she noted. “Knowing how to spell really helps a lot when I’m doing school work.”